Lesley Bryant is a woman who is making waves in her local community of Washington DC.
Waves in her client’s fabulous hair and waves in creating the first barbershop to have a staff of Black lady barbers.
Her mission is to create safe, inclusive spaces for future women-barber pioneers.
And she’s doing that with the now-iconic Lady Clipper.
Situated at the epicenter of Washington’historic U Street Corridor, this unique shop of talented lady barbers continues to exceed its clients’ expectations with trendy cuts and an inclusive environment.
With an appreciation for local artists, the Lady Clipper Barber Shop walls are graced with art that inspires creativity while offering a relaxing and immersive hair experience.
The diversity of its clients is as wide-ranging as the transformative styles created there. The Lady Clipper Barber Shop blends an eye for style with a passion for precision, all under the watchful eye of Lesley.
Within the last four years, Lesley and her team of women barbers have opened their doors to numerous community members, DC artists, and patrons.
The Lady Clipper Barbershop was also named Best of DC 2020 and the top-rated barbershop in the District.
Part of Lesley’s ethos of inclusion is offering men’s hairpieces and toupees, installing them, and giving gentlemen back their confidence.
Today we were lucky enough to grab this hair aficionado for a quick chat about men’s hairpieces, men’s toupees, and some of her top tips as a tip-top barber.
Interview with Lesley Bryant – Washington DC-based Barber.
So Lesley, lovely to meet you, and thanks for taking the time to chat to us.
Q1. What do you look for when choosing a hairpiece for a man?
The best to me are the lace-based hairpieces.
The hairpieces with the lace base are breathable, so more comfortable to wear. Also, when you part the hair, they give the appearance of skin and flesh, which makes them look a lot more realistic.
I usually use a synthetic wig because of the price point. The synthetic wigs also tend to hold up quite well if cared for properly, especially considering how cost-effective they are.
Q2. Can you give us any tips for taking care of human hair and synthetic wigs?
The first thing I would say is that both should be washed with a sulfate-free shampoo.
When you are not wearing your wig, I would strongly suggest you keep your wig safe, secure, and clean by keeping it on a mannequin head or wig stand.
The difference between natural and synthetic hair is how you care for it.
Natural hair operates a lot like natural hair. You can use a hairdryer, a curling iron, a straightening iron on natural hair.
You really should not be using heat on a synthetic wig as it’s basically plastic, and you will destroy the hair fibers. It’s better to air dryer or use very low heat on the hairdryer.
Q3. What about the heat-resistant synthetic wigs?
I haven’t personally used those, but I would still be wary of applying any real heat to those. It may say heat-resistant, but I would still be worried about damaging the hair. I would still suggest using low heat and not using a curling iron.
And these toupees are fastened with an adhesive, where heat can also loosen the bond.
Q4. Can you swim, sleep and shower with hairpieces on?
The hair units that we do, you can sleep in them.
We would propose that they wear a silk scarf, a bonnet, or what we would call a do-rag to protect the hair and hold it together.
As far as showering or swimming with it, I would recommend not submerging your head or getting it wet if at all possible.
Just to ensure the bond is secured and stay secure with the adhesive.
So basically, swim, but don’t put your head under. And stay away from the sauna! Basically, stay away from anything that would loosen that adhesive bond.
Q5. How do you go about attaching your wigs?
Well, our units, we do glue them on, but we put a layer of our scalp protector layer down to make sure that the scalp is protected and any chemicals from the glue is not directly hitting the scalp.
Q6. How much does it usually cost for a good quality hairpiece?
I would say starting from about $300 and up. It will look realistic, it will move like real hair, and it will feel comfortable.
It can go up to $ 1’000 for a hairpiece, so it can depend on many factors.
Q7. How much would the professional installation of a wig cost? Why we should go for it?
Generally, we price match the unit and the installation. So if the hairpiece is $300, installation will typically come in around that price too.
The biggest difference will be the bond. As the technician can see from behind you and above you, they can secure the bond properly and make sure no spots are left out.
The other thing is that a technician will clean and prepare the scalp so that the best seal is achieved, so your toupee will stay on longer and more securely.
Finally, with men’s hairpieces especially, usually the hair will need to be cut and styled to match and blend into the natural hairline perfectly. They will shape the sides to integrate the hair and make sure the shape is completely realistic.
If you install the hairpiece yourself at home and you don’t shape it, it may not look realistic or well placed.
Q8. How long will the hairpiece last after the installation?
Once the toupee is installed, it will last up to a month on your head.
However, I would suggest coming back into the salon from about three weeks to about a month and getting the toupee removed, washed, your natural hair cut, and have the wig reinstalled.
You can use the toupee again, but you will need to cut your hair. As your hair grows throughout the month, it will begin to look less and less realistic.
Q9. Any advice for first time toupee (wig) wearers?
Look for a wig that matches your hair’s texture and color. Get as close as you can. That is the key.
I would also do a lace-based toupee. It is breathable it is less irritating on the scalp because it sits closer to the scalp.
Q10. Will wearing a hairpiece prevent hair growth?
We actually remove the hair first, then add a layer of protection, then we place the wig.
Toupees are usually placed on people who are already losing their hair. So it doesn’t cause alopecia because typically, there is only a little hair growth under the toupee when placing it.
The hairpiece needs to adhere to a clean, clear surface because it would damage the hair if it was left there.
And it would also not fit securely, that’s actually very important.
You need to make sure you are very careful with that adhesive. If it gets on the hair on the sides of your hair, it would be challenging to remove and need to be cut down to remove the adhesive.
So, we would only typically install hairpieces on men who already have issues with male pattern baldness or alopecia. Then cut any remaining hair on the scalp down (under where the toupee would go), and then protect the scalp.
Only then do you start applying adhesive, as it is very strong.
Q11. How to cover small bald spots with hairpiece?
For that type of client, we would recommend single-strand strips.
These are smaller pieces, and we would completely remove any hair from the bald spots, use adhesive and apply the single strand strips only to the much smaller problem areas.
That isn’t a toupee, that’s more of a filler.
Q12. Why men with hair loss should embrace change?
I feel it’s important for them to embrace change because if you are unhappy with your hair loss and have hair on the sides, try it out.
I have never had a gentleman come in and be unhappy with the results. They may be unhappy with the maintenance or its cost – but never with the results.
The results speak for themselves when men say they look younger, feel better, and instantly restore their confidence. They get out of my chair, and they’re just like, “WOW” – you know?
It’s like a boost of energy. And it’s really for the guys who have difficulty with their balding. Men who have been bald for years come in and know they aren’t going to keep it.
It may be for an award ceremony, a wedding, or similar. They know they just want the wigs or hairpieces for a shorter period, and that’s ok.
You may not care for daily coverage, but you may just want it for pictures, memories, and that one special day.
Q13. How often should people wash their hair with a toupee installed?
I would say monthly, usually after a month.
Maybe use very light leave-in sprays, but let it air dry on the wig stand while you get your hair cut and your scalp prepared.
Because your scalp also needs time to breathe and take a break from the wig.
Q14. How long would you suggest giving your scalp a break for?
24 hours is usually enough.
What we will typically do is take the hairpiece off the day before and then the next day we will install. So the gentleman will come in and drop the toupee of the night before with a baseball cap on, we will wash it and have it prepared.
Then the next day we will do the maintenance on his hair and reinstall the toupee, so it’s a quick process.
Q15. How do you make a man’s hairpiece look real?
Firstly, find the right barber!
Secondly, get a wig that matches your own hair and texture as closely as you can.
Thirdly, pick a hairstyle that can hide the join and will move with the toupee. Remember that your hair is real on the sides and installed on top.
So picking a proper hairstyle that can hide and support it is important. The barber would help to pick and consult with the client to find the right hairstyle. So finding the right barber is the most important thing.
Story Behind Lesley Bryant and the Lady Clipper Barber Shop
Thank you for the tips, Lesley! Let’s tell us more about yourself?
Why did you start being a barber and start Lady Clipper?
I was actually a designer for 12 years in my past life!
So about 12 years ago, I was working as a graphic designer and my company was being merged with another company. As these things go, quite a few people were being laid off.
I was one of those people. It came at the right time, though, as I was tired of Corporate America anyway, so I took my severance pay and thought about my next move.
I was at my barber, and he suggested that I should go to barber school. He said, “You’re creative, you have a great personality, and I think you would succeed if you went to barbering school.”
And I just ran with it. Barbering blends all my skills. I’m able to be social, I’m able to be creative.
And I use all of my graphic design skills to do my own marketing, as I did my own logo, my own marketing materials and I create all of my brand assets.
So I saved a lot of time and money by utilizing my previous job skills and using them for my own shop.
How long did that take to set up?
So barbering school was about a year and a half, and then while in school, I did some apprenticeships with other barbers. I learned how they worked and their style, which helped me find my own.
So about two years to really get comfortable, I’d say.
Well, I was raised here. I’m from Trinidad originally.
My mom was born in DC, though, so it just made sense when we moved back here from Trinidad. It’s where I call home. I’ve been here for half of my life.
It’s why I set up Lady Clipper here in one of the most iconic parts of Washington and why inclusion is so important to me.
Gentleman, I hope you find this piece of article useful for choosing your hairpiece, if you want to get in touch with Lesley, here are her details: